LHS boys, girls top Turner in Senior Night showdowns
Jackson ignites boys with big third quarter; Radovich nets 35 in girls’ win
Jeff Jackson wanted to make sure the Lansing High seniors left with a victory on Senior Night Friday at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium.
With the five senior starters struggling to find a rhythm offensively during the first two quarters against Turner, it was Jackson, a junior forward, who turned the game around by igniting a 15-4 third-quarter rally that sent Lansing from a five-point deficit to a 43-37 lead. Ultimately, LHS cruised to a 59-51 victory.
"I just wanted to bring out a good game for Senior Night and just contribute to the seniors and do my best so that they can win and enjoy their Senior Night," Jackson said of his nine-point, three-rebound, two-block effort.
Jackson's performance didn't go unnoticed by the seniors.
"Jeff Jackson stepped his game up to a new level tonight," senior Jeff Slater said. "It took a while for us seniors to get going, but he got us going and then we stepped up and did what we needed to do to get it done."
The Lions (9-9) forced shots during the first and part of the second quarter. The problem was magnified by the fact that the Bears came out red-hot from the field. The combination of the two resulted in a 33-23 Bears lead with 66 seconds left in the first half.
At that point the Lions were a basket or two away from the game getting out of hand, but they didn't waver. Instead, coach Don Allen called a timeout, settled his squad down and sent them back out to the floor. They then closed the half on a 5-0 run with a three-point play from Slater and two free throws from senior Chris Wagner to pull within 33-28.
On Lansing's first possession of the third quarter, Slater scored on a three-point play. He then added another free throw. After that, senior Cody Mohan drained a three-pointer to pull LHS within 37-35. A reverse layup by senior David Kern on the next possession tied the game.
After a Turner timeout, Jackson made a steal that led to a Kern layup. On the ensuing possession, Jackson swatted a shot, raced to the other end of the court, caught a pass and scored on a driving layin that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Moments later, Jackson sprinted through the lane, caught a perfect pass from senior Matt Warner and layed it in and capped a 15-4 third-quarter run. Jackson's bucket gave Lansing a 43-37 lead, forced Turner to take a timeout and led to a jumping chest-bump by Jackson and Slater at midcourt.
Clearly the momentum had shifted.
"He was huge in the third quarter," Allen said of Jackson's spurt. "He had a hand in all 15 of those points I'd pretty much say. He was either rebounding or scoring or making a pass or blocking a shot. (It was) just an outstanding quarter for him. And that carries over from what he did Tuesday (six points, four blocks). We're extremely pleased. I'm extremely happy for him, and he's doing it at times when we need somebody to do it."
The Lions didn't let up the intensity in the fourth quarter. Instead, they continued to pour it on. Slater knocked down a 16-footer to start the quarter. Jackson sank a free throw. Mohan banked home a jumper. Warner swished two free throws. Eventually, a lay-in by senior Austin Reynolds pushed the lead to 15 points before the Lions coasted to the finish.
Just like in most of its games for the past month, Lansing has relied on its defense to turn things around Friday night. LHS held Turner scoreless for a 6-minute, 42-second stretch overlapping the third and fourth quarters. That allowed the Lions time to score a few easy buckets off turnovers and find a rhythm shooting.
"Since we're not great shooters, we have to rely on our defense to stay in the game sometimes," Slater said. "We know none of us is anything special on offense. We don't have anybody who can go off and score eight in a row, so we have to play good defense."
Slater led all scorers with 19 points, Kern had 11, Mohan scored 10, Jackson had nine, Wagner and Warner scored four apiece and Reynolds finished with two.
Lansing next plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Fe Trail. After that, the Lions will close out the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at home against the Bonner Springs Braves. Thursday's game originally had been slated for Friday but it was pushed up a day at the Braves' request.
LANSING GIRLS 77, TURNER 53
When Lansing High girls basketball coach Keith Andrews told his players to feed the ball to senior Amanda Radovich in the post, he knew what he was talking about.
Radovich, a 5-foot-11 forward, had a size advantage inside that he exploited all night. Time and again, guards Katie Nietzke, Nichole Twitchel, Amanda Darrow and Brittney Lang found Radovich down low - sometimes wide open. Time and again, Radovich put the ball up off the glass and into the basket.
By the end of the night Radovich had made 17 of 20 shots and scored a career-high 35 points to go with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Radovich's big night was just one of many highlights of a stellar Senior Night at LHS. The biggest highlight, however, was the final score: Lansing 77, Turner 53.
"I remember my past three years after Senior Night just watching the seniors bawl because they lost on their Senior Night, and I didn't want to be that," Radovich said. "I know all of the younger girls wanted to step up and give us a good Senior Night, and they definitely did."
Radovich asserted herself quickly as she scored eight first-quarter points on four-for-five shooting. By halftime she was up to 20 points. She scored nine more in the third quarter and then added six more in the fourth before sitting for the final five minutes.
"I was getting some pretty good passes," Radovich said. "Twitch had a couple amazing passes to me down there, and Katie and Brittney hit me a couple times down the court."
Although Radovich put up the game's most eye-popping numbers, it was sophomore Morgan Chiles who turned in the biggest game-changing performance.
Coming in on a two-game losing skid, Lansing struggled out of the gates and fell behind 8-4 before it started looking to Radovich inside on offense. Radovich poured in eight first-quarter points as she nailed four of five shots, but LHS lacked defensive intensity during the opening quarter and Turner actually led 19-18 after the first eight minutes.
"We were kind of walking in mud for the first couple minutes," Radovich said. "We looked up at the scoreboard and it was like, 'Woah. How are they beating us?' Coach called a timeout and yelled at us and got us going."
Andrews also made a substitution. Early in the second quarter he inserted Chiles into the game with Lansing nursing a 21-20 lead. Chiles' presence was electrifying. Her defensive intensity quickly rubbed off on her teammates as they forced five straight turnovers. Chiles had back-to-back steals during that spurt. She also scored on a put-back, made a layup, swished a 17-foot jumper and dished an assist to Nietzke on a layup. In just three minutes with Chiles on the court, Lansing's one-point lead turned into a 38-20 cushion.
"It was just a huge turnaround," Andrews said of the 17-0 run that Chiles sparked.
And with that, Lansing seemed to have forgotten the frustrations of last Friday's loss to Tonganoxie and Tuesday's disappointing defeat at Bishop Ward. For the rest of the game the Lions (12-6) were upbeat, smiling and clearly having fun. Nietzke and Rachel Darrow high-fived. Chiles scored at will. Radovich gave her trademark fist-pump time and again. All of a sudden the Lions regained the look they displayed during their recent six-game winning streak.
"I just think tonight helps get our confidence back up," Chiles said.
After the big second-quarter run, the outcome of the game never was in question. Still, the Lions didn't ease up. They took a 42-27 lead into halftime and stretched their advantage to 58-37 after three quarters. After a three-pointer by Rachel Darrow and a few more buckets from Radovich, Andrews pulled the starters for most of the last five minutes.
Rachel Darrow joined Radovich in double-digits with 11 points. Chiles had nine points, four rebounds and four steals. Nietzke added nine points, six assists and four steals. Twitchel scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds, had four assists and three steals. Christine Cordes added three points and Lang and Amanda Darrow scored two apiece.
Lansing next plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Santa Fe Trail. The Lions and Chargers are in a battle for second place in the Kaw Valley League, and Andrews said he expected his squad to receive a stiff challenge.
"The good thing for (the girls) is that they're going to give us a good challenge, and we know they're going to be good so we have to raise our level from the beginning," he said.